DRB3: Maximalism, Kitsch and Jeff Koons

New Paintings and Sculpture by Jeff Koons

May 9- June 29, 2013, New York

Sculpture Bouquet of Tulips by Jeff Koons

Year 2019, Petit Palais in Paris

Sculpture of Michael Jackson and Bubbles by Jeff Koons

Year 1988, Banality series

Sculpture of Lady Gaga by Jeff Koons

Artpop album release party in 2013

Maximalism in graphic design is a style that emphasizes excess and abundance. It is characterized using bright colours, bold typography, and intricate patterns. This style is often used to create a sense of energy and excitement in design.

One of the key features of maximalist design is the use of multiple elements in a single composition. This can include overlapping shapes, multiple patterns, and a variety of typography styles. The goal is to create a sense of chaos and complexity that draws the viewer in and keeps them engaged.

Another important aspect of maximalist design is the use of colour. Bold, bright colours are often used to create a sense of vibrancy and energy. This can be seen in everything from the background colour of a design to the colour of the text and images used.

Overall, maximalism in graphic design is a style that is all about excess and abundance. It is a bold and exciting approach that can be used to create designs that are both visually stunning and engaging.

Kitsch is a term used to describe art that is considered to be in poor taste, often characterized by its garishness and sentimentality. Jeff Koons is a contemporary artist who is known for his use of kitsch in his artwork. Koons’ work often features everyday objects such as balloons and toys, which he then transforms into larger-than-life sculptures.

  • The artist began working on the Celebration series in 1994, drawing inspiration from childhood experiences and consciousness. The collection was completed with the help of Larry Gagosian, who financed it in exchange for exclusive selling rights. The series includes three new sculptures – balloon swan (blue), balloon rabbit (yellow) and balloon monkey (red) – in which children’s party favour’s are reimagined as mesmerizing monumental forms. These sculptures achieve a perfect balance between representation and abstraction, with their impressive scale, flowing lines and flawless mirror surfaces.
  • Koons’s sculpture Bouquet of Tulips, is features a huge hand passing not a dozen but 11 metal balloon tulips. Presented in 2019 in the gardens of the Petit Palais in Paris, the concept is as a memorial to the 2015 and 2016 terrorist attacks in France, representing the victims as the missing 12th tulip from the dozen. Koons has stated that 80% of the artwork copyright proceedings would go to the victims’ families with the rest 20% covering the maintenance of the installation.
  • Jeff Koons made it his goal to make his artwork reach as many people as possible. To do this, he looks to entertainment media, pop culture and Christian art for inspiration. When a new consumer and media culture emerged in the 1980s, Michael Jackson enjoyed enormous success and became a pop icon. Portraying a media influencer like Michael Jackson may have helped him achieve this goal by comparing the King of Pop to Christian icons. Koons wanted to portray Jackson as a new redemptive figure who would allow people to discover their own cultural mythology. The sculpture is also interpreted as a symbol of the desire for self-discovery. He was also inspired by the triangular composition of Michelangelo’s Pietà. Also, the material of the piece is reminiscent of Catholic mass-produced figures of saints, which are produced from porcelain and gold leaf. Thus, the sculpture becomes a kitsch object, attractive to every person who appreciates this type of art. Once he said about the sculpture: “I wanted to create him in a very god-like icon manner. But I always liked the radicality of Michael Jackson; that he would do absolutely anything that was necessary to be able to communicate with people.”
  • Lady Gaga is the second musician Koons has portrayed in his work. The idea for the sculpture draws from the artist’s own collection of Gagging Balls and the work Woman in Tub and consists of two components – a white plaster cast and one of Koons’ signature metallic blue gazing balls made of glass. Gaga is naked with a minimalistic face with no makeup, only with her long wig. The sculpture is influenced by the Greco-Roman style, and the spherical pop art balls are inspired by the garden ornaments of his childhood.

Koons’ use of kitsch has been both praised and criticized. Some argue that his work is a commentary on consumer culture and the commodification of art. Others see it as a shallow attempt to appeal to the masses. Regardless of one’s opinion, Koons’ work has undeniably had a significant impact on the contemporary art world.

Whether one loves or hates kitsch, it cannot be denied that it has a place in the art world. From Koons’ sculptures to the velvet paintings found in thrift stores, kitsch has the power to evoke a range of emotions in viewers. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is certainly a style that has made its mark on art history.

Images designed by me

For the first reinterpretation of the style, I made a collage that contains about 50 vintage images of various objects, advertisements, cars, toys, food and other kitsch elements that fit well. I tried to match them well, repositioning so that each individual element is displayed and nostalgically remembers the mass elements of the past that almost every household owned.

My second reinterpretation is done simply but with a nice “I love you” message. For the word “I” used my eye which I cut out and made black and white for a vintage effect. The next two images are a human heart for the word “LOVE” and for the word “YOU” I used the element Uranus from the Mendeleev’s periodic table. All this is placed in a frame that is decorated with blue pom-poms that add a rather kitsch style.

My third kitsch style image is done on a pink background. I have used a vintage image of a cute kitten on which I put the tiara on the head, as well as the typical kitsch butterflies that are very characteristic of the style. For a more vintage effect I used some dust and old paper effects.

The final image is of a woman drinking glitter from a coffee mug. I used such an effect in different colours to emphasize the teeth, eyes, and nails. The woman is placed on a sky background to look like she is flying in the clouds and for her everything is wealth and luxury. So, I added the word “fake” on the forehead made of vintage letters.


Jeff Koons. (2013) New Paintings and Sculpture [Porcelain Sculptures]. New York.

Jeff Koons. (2019) Bouquet Of Tulips [Installation]. Petit Palais, Paris.

Jeff Koons. (1988) Michael Jackson and Bubbles [Porcelain Sculptures]. The Broad Museum, LA.

Jeff Koons. (2013) Lady Gaga [Porcelain Sculptures]. Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York.